Uh oh, I don’t want to write a tragedy

I’m still slowly but surely continuing to plot my novel The King of Diaden. I have an outline which details the main events of each of the 45 chapters I think I’ll have, and now I’m going through and writing a little outline for each chapter, which I’m hoping will make writing easier.

This is also helpful just to get the characters and the tone of the story pounded deep into my subconscious. I’m not sure if that’s something readers will be able to recognize, but I think it will surely make writing easier.

Currently, I’m outlining chapter 7, but I’ve already hit my first little snag… the overall tone of the novel isn’t working for me. It’s too tragic. It’s as if one of my themes is: “Life stinks!” And I don’t really want it to have that theme. At the same time, I don’t really want to change the tragic elements of the ending. So I’m really struggling trying to figure out how to make the tone of the novel more positive, while not changing what actually happens plot-wise.

My first idea is to change how the characters respond to certain events in the plot; they should be more optomistic. Their spirits should be more positive, even though certain plot events are understandably tragic. Not that they don’t feel sad, but they shouldn’t let that sadness stop them from feeling good about other plot events; it shouldn’t get them down in the dumps.

This idea is somewhat dangerous, however, as I certainly don’t want their attitudes to seem too sugar-coated, or just too plain apathetic. I don’t want their reactions to seem like a silly lie. So I think this will be a tough balancing act.

My second idea is to separate the narrator and the viewpoint character at some points. I like the idea (and have used it before, mostly in my unfinished novel attempt The Game of Gynwig) of adding in [a little dark] humor by having a narrator who describes tragic events bluntly, because he is apathetic.

(That isn’t to say the narrator has to state: “Hello, I am your narrator” and be some defined character, like Lemony Snicket. It just means there is no viewpoint character at that point, or it’s a very limited viewpoint.)

Again, that will be another balancing act, because if I overdo it, it will be much more of a comedy book, and it won’t be that funny.

And, lastly, I suppose I should try to keep the tone of the novel focused on the wonder of the magic in the book. Overall, it’s still a character driven story, it’s not just a portrait of magic. In other words, the theme of the novel shouldn’t be just how wonderful the magic is. But it should have an effect on how the story is told.

Not sure if I’ll be able to keep all those ideas in my mind while I write, but I hope I can pound them into my subconscious so I can start understanding the story as an overall positive story, and not a big gloomy tragedy, which is kind of how it seems to me now.

By S P Hannifin, ago

More boring old novel plotting…

Animation Mentor semester 2 has official begun! So it’s back to having no free time again, but I’m looking forward to it. My new Q&A time is on Wednesday nights, at 10 PM EST, with professional animator Shaun Freeman. I’ll try to upload my progress reel from last semester some time soon, so that y’all can watch it and be jealous of my professional ambitions…

In other news, I’m continuing to plot my novel. I’ve got an outline, detailing what happens in each of the 45 chapters I think I’m going to have. Now, for each chapter, I’m spending an hour or two outlining the chapter itself, making sure I know how it begins and ends, what the characters are feeling and what they want, what the tone is, what the characters might say, etc. It’s like I’m writing notes to some other writer who’s going to write the novel.

I already feel that this will be a great help for when I actually write the novel, as sometimes when I’m outlining a chapter I feel the need to go back and edit my outline for the chapter before it for the sake of continuity, so I think this attempt will be much better than all my other novel writing attempts.

That said, I’ve only outlined 4 of the 45 chapters so far, so this will take a pretty long time… hopefully it will make the writing itself go faster though, as I’ll have a much better idea of what exactly I want to write… I’ll have already figured out a lot details.

My biggest concern, however, is loss of interest. Well, not so much loss of interest as gain of other interest, if that makes sense. I have other novel ideas floating around in my head and they seem like a lot of fun, and it’s tempting to just go work on them instead. So it may be challenging to keep myself focused on this one novel until it’s finished… but I’ll try.

By S P Hannifin, ago

Novel plotting progress

My break between Animation Mentor semesters is almost over, just got the weekend left.  I look forward to studying animation again, but it’s sad to say goodbye to the free time, and it will be tough to get back into the daily grind.  And some of the upcoming animation assignments look hard, so I’m kinda scared.  *Gulp*

Anyway, I didn’t spend much time playing computer games as I sort of wanted to (still got the weekend though, I guess), but I did finish writing my rough novel outline for The Designers, which I am now going to start calling The King of Diaden.  Not sure that’ll really be the title, but it’ll work for the purposes of blogging about it.

So, the outline is done, and there are 45 chapters.  Normally I’d begin writing at this point.  But not this time, oh no no. I really want to finally finish a novel, so I’m going to spend some time laboring over this outline and adding more details to make sure everything works and there aren’t any plot holes or missing elements. What I plan to do next is to go over this outline and really think about each scene individually. What exactly happens? How does the scene begin and end? What are the characters feeling? What is the tone of the scene? What is the point of the scene in relation to the rest of the book and to its theme? I might write some rough draft descriptions and pieces of dialog here and there if something I like pops into my head, but the focus won’t be on writing, it’ll be on making sure the scenes connect to each other well enough and the story works as a whole.

And… that’s pretty much it. This book will be some wonderful high art!

By S P Hannifin, ago